What is high intensity interval training? It seems that H.I.I.T. workouts are all the buzz now. This type of training isn't really new (runners and cyclists have been doing this for years; you can also do this in the gym with circuit style training), but it has been getting quite a bit of attention lately. New research has shown that doing this type of training increases endurance performance in already highly trained top level endurance athletes. There is also plenty of evidence showing the benefits to regular people as well.
H.I.I.T. is essentially doing repeated efforts of hard high intensity exercise (near maximal) interspersed with specific rest periods. A huge range of work:rest and number of sets has been investigated. The optimal way has yet to be discovered (if it even exists). Example of the work:rest range:
5 sec - 5 minutes of work, and 10 sec - 10 minutes rest, but with no consistent ratio between work and rest. I've seen workouts with 6-24 sets. The choice of volume and work:rest really depends on your current fitness and what you are trying to accomplish.
Well that all sounds pretty 'sciencey', but what does that really mean?
- We know that high intensity intervals provide a significant fitness benefits
- You can get a lot of benefits in a shorter amount of total time when compared to endurance training
- Adding this type of training helps with weight loss
- It is not safe or healthy to only do H.I.I.T when you exercise, especially if you are training most days of the week
- Don't worry too much about the exact work:rest ratio. My advice is to work hard for a shorter period of time (30-90 sec) and rest as little a possible between sets while still being able to maintain 90%+ intensity. Your first set should be as intense/hard/fast as your last. If you are getting slower/weaker each subsequent set your rest intervals aren't long enough. Try 6 sets to begin with and work up to 12 or so.
- Add H.I.I.T. training to your exercise plan. It's really hard when done correctly, but really helps to substantially improve your fitness.
The best way to experience this type of training is to have a professional (any of our trainers) put you through a well designed H.I.I.T. session. Ask your GWA trainer, they will be glad to help.